Angels make splash for starting pitcher, what does it mean for Braves?

MLB: MAY 04 Twins at White Sox

Yesterday was a promising one for hopeful Angels fans. Sitting four games back in the Wild Card race, they shut down all calls for Shohei Ohtani and proceeded to pull off a significant trade for Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez of the White Sox. However, the price tag for those two players was nothing to scoff at.

The Angels are going for it. They are putting their best foot forward, hoping Ohtani will look back on their efforts favorably. Their fans should be ecstatic right now, but in a few months, this could be looked back on as another dark day for their franchise’s history.

Edgar Quero is the Angels second-ranked prospect and is regarded as a top 100 prospect in all of baseball. Ky Bush is ranked third in their system, a second-round pick from their 2021 draft class. He’s been hampered by injuries in 2023 but had a very nice 2022 and has all of the physical tools to become a piece of a major-league starting rotation. That’s quite a haul for a rental in Giolito, who could leave in free agency at the end of the season, and a reliever with a 4.29 ERA in 2023.

Which brings me to my next point — what does it mean for the Braves?

The Angels going all in means one less seller is on the market and a significant one at that. It also takes away one of the Braves top starting pitching targets in Lucas Giolito and sets the bar for other trades. If a middle of the rotation rental can garner a top 100 prospect and then some in a trade, then just imagine what other arms with multiple years of control will fetch.

I thought the Braves had a legitimate shot at Giolito, and they could have put together a similar package. It would have taken one of Vaughn Grissom or AJ Smith-Shawver and then some, which is a hefty price tag, but it was doable. Now, their options look much more bleak.

There are some rentals that could become available, like Marcus Stroman and Blake Snell, but the Braves don’t have the prospect capital to target either guy. They also don’t have enough to offer a team for a high quality starting pitcher with years of control. Perhaps they can also call the White Sox and take a gamble on Michael Kopech, but judging by this trade and how Alex Anthopoulos has operated in the past, the Braves better hope Max Fried can get healthy and none of their other starting pitchers suffer any significant injuries for the remainder of the season.

Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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